On my first day at Grand Rapids Community College, I walked across the main quad and saw a man shouting through a bullhorn telling passing students that they were going to hell because of their sins. He brought one young woman to tears by screaming that she was sinful and evil. Something in me snapped. I bolted toward the man and grabbed his bullhorn and sign, which read “You’re Going to Hell!” I stepped up on a nearby picnic bench and spoke something different to the young woman whose attention I now had: “God loves you! You are good! You can be free and whole and right again!” A few minutes later the police showed up thinking I was inciting a riot.
That day was the beginning for me—not of arrests, but of extending invitations. In that one moment standing on that picnic bench, I got a glimpse of what I wanted to give my life to—pointing people toward God’s grace, love, and kingdom in a winsome way. That was the day I decided to live the invitational life.
As I’ve thought about what that really means, I’ve landed on four interrelated movements—live, show up, relate, and risk. By live, I mean getting swept up in God’s great love and living in deep connection with Jesus every day. When I say show up, I mean entering every space expectant, available, and with ears and eyes open to the Holy Spirit’s whispers and then following through without delay. Relate means sitting, walking, and sharing meals with people to listen to their stories and take an interest in them. Then there’s risk, the hardest movement. Risk means leaving your comfort zone and stepping into the unfamiliar to share God’s love, hope, and grace with whomever God asks—friends, strangers, enemies; the rich, the poor, the famous and the forgotten.
This life is thrilling, compelling, and terrifying all at the same time. And our world needs you!
As we head into 2017, it feels like our challenge more than ever is to live intentionally & invitationally. As a way to help us recognize the redemptive moments we encounter each day, we’ve created a devotional resource which I’ll share daily on my blog. As you use the devotional, share stories and photos of how God is transforming your relationships and tag them with #ThisInvitationalLife so we can all follow along!
How This Devotional Works
This 40-day devotional is designed to get you started on your own journey into the invitational life and begin risking yourself to align with God’s heartbeat for humanity. Each day begins with a passage of Scripture to center you on God’s desire and truth. Then, you’ll be invited to reflect on several questions to help you open to what God might be saying to you, seeking to affirm, correct, or transform in you, and inviting you to do for the sake of the world he loves so much. The daily devotional time ends with a prayer to thank God, ask him for what you need, and invite him to send you out as his instrument.
My prayer is that you’ll jump in for these 40 days and see what God will do in and through you as you embark on this invitational life.